If you are a human being of a “certain age,” and if you have looked at houses for sale in the past few years, you may have noticed a change. Back in the olden days of yore (like the twentieth century), people did one of two things when they put their homes on the market:
- They cleaned them really well and got rid of random junk. Then they mowed the yard.
- They moved out, then cleaned the house up. If they had a room painted by a teenager, they painted it white.
After that, an agent showed people houses, or people called your agent to see the house, and it got sold. You then moved into a new house, which you fixed up to your own taste.
Today, if you want to sell a house at retail (not the ones WE are looking for), people feel compelled to do so much more. They put most of their things in storage, especially anything that makes it look like an actual family lives there, they replace anything in the house that is over 5 years old, because it might bring the dreaded word “dated” to the lips of potential buyers, and of course they paint every surface a neutral color, and if possible, remove anything resembling carpet in the house. You then put strategically placed objects around the house to make it appealing. That’s called staging.
Do you have a house that will sell for above the average price in your area? First, you’ll do all those things listed above, perhaps even using a professional bath and kitchen designer to get them perfect. Then, you hope to be lucky enough to find an agent who is also trained to “stage” houses. We are fortunate to have Carol, who is a trained decorator and stager. She whipped my own former house into shape to get good money for it!
Your other option is to hire a professional staging team. When you do that, you might “get” to keep a few of your own pieces in the house, but often, all your things get packed away (if you haven’t already moved), and a whole new set of furnishings get brought in and set up, to highlight the good features of the house and downplay any “unique” qualities that the “average” buyer might not like. The really good ones furnish the house in a style that fits the home’s age and neighborhood. In Austin, though, you just put mid-century modern stuff in there, because anyone who is anyone wants that.
Hmm, Sounds Expensive
Why, yes, it can be expensive! You either need to raise your sale price to cover it, or look at it another way: a professionally staged house will sell faster, thereby eliminating the holding costs of keeping a house on the market for months. It might end up saving you money. So, the decision to stage or not to stage is not one to be taken lightly.
Can you do it yourself? Well, maybe, especially if you are familiar with current trends (read yourself some home decorating magazines or go on Pinterest). Before you run off to the furniture rental place and discount accessories store, consider these factors:
- It’s going to take you more time than you might expect to pull your look together. That delays getting the house on the market.
- You’re going to spend a good amount of money on things you may not want later.
- You will have to pay someone to move stuff in and take it out OR you may engender bad will among your friends and spouse who have to lift and tote all that stuff.
- You might mess stuff up (dragging furniture over those new floors, putting holes in the freshly painted wall where you decide you actually don’t want that abstract painting of globs of color, failing at installing curtain rods to hang those tan and white lozenge-decorated curtains).
- If you have to bring in someone to help you out, you may or may not get good quality work, especially if you aren’t familiar with hiring subcontractors.
Sorta makes a pro tempting, doesn’t it? Here’s one cost estimate for your consideration, from an article on Realtor.com that is a great reference for would-be stagers:
How much does home staging cost? File this one under “obvious”—but the pricier the home, the more it costs to stage. As a general rule of thumb, most stagers charge $300 to $600 for an initial design consultation, and $500 to $600 per month per room.
—from How Much Does Home Staging Cost—and How Much Will You Gain?
When Would I NOT Want to Stage My House?
Reading the above might make any readers considering selling their home run to look up staging companies in their area. But hold on. Maybe you don’t want to. Remember, there are people out there who don’t give a HOOT what your house looks like on the inside (did you see the “before” pictures of Oakridge?).
You could just hope for the best, give the house a good cleaning, and put it up for sale. There are still people (like me) who can see past current furnishings to what potential a house has, and would rather renovate a house to their own taste and standards. You’d be taking a chance, but it could work out. If you have the time to wait for the right buyer, though, this may work.
Do you need to sell quickly, though? Consider whether it might be worth your while to simply reduce the price of your house by the amount of money it would take to rehab it and stage it for top dollar, and let someone else do all that work. Houses priced like this tend to sell FAST, because there are a lot of rehabbers out there looking for houses to fix up and sell. These people often have networks of resources that let them get lower prices than you’d pay at retail, and they usually have the experience to quickly fix up a house to sell. They also know who does good work.
If you aren’t sure what to do, give us a call. We can talk you through your options, so you can be assured that your decision of whether to go for a retail sale of a beautifully staged home, or a discounted sale of your place just as it is. We want what is best for you, even though we would sure like to buy your house? How to find us? 512-807-8777!Hermann says please like and share!